Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton
9 March 2018
Lot 113

1972 BMW 2002

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$38,080 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

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Chassis No.
2581201
  • Nicely restored example with tasteful upgrades
  • Final year of the "roundie" taillights
  • The '70s icon that began the sports sedan craze

Without question, the 2002 is considered the definitive small sports sedan. While the diminutive Isetta is thought to have saved BMW, the 2002 is regarded as the vehicle that defined the company. The success of the BMW 2002 cannot be understated. During the 12-year model run, a total of 398,434 were built, including 196,845 2002s between January 1968 and June 1975. Paul Hahnemann, the head of marketing for BMW, convinced the Board of Management that the world was ready for a more powerful version of BMW's sporting sedan. So it was, and the 2002 was born.

Although the engine developed five hp less than its 1600 tii predecessor, torque was considerably higher, especially off the line at low revs. To differentiate the car from its four-door sibling, it was called 2002, while the four-door model was called the 2000. Standard equipment included a brake servo and a hydraulic clutch. Within six months of introduction, it was given dual circuit brakes. Exports to North America amounted to 20 percent of production, and the car was considered a runaway success for BMW. The 2002 embodied a combination of sportiness, practicality, and aesthetics, which became synonymous with BMW.

BMW introduced a series of revisions in April 1971 with the subsequent cars known as the Model 71. Offered here is one of those desirable model 71 variants, a 1972 2002. Key visual characteristics include bumpers with black rubber facing, longer rear bumper wraparounds, sill panels painted in body color, and the all-important round taillights. The 1973 model year brought the end of the Model 71 and saw the introduction of the Model 73 with the less attractive 2.5 mph impact bumpers, rectangular taillights, and all-black plastic grille.

Offered from the ownership of an RM Sotheby's Car Specialist, this example was nicely restored and painted Golf (yellow) over black leatherette. This U.S.-delivery example has also been fitted with a five-speed manual transmission and sport seats. Numerous upgrades include 14-in. ATS five-spoke wheels with BF Goodrich G-Force tires, Hella driving lights, a Crane coil, Weber carburetors with velocity stacks (including covers), a VDO water bottle, relocation of the battery to the trunk, a three-spoke sport steering wheel, rear suspension brace, a stainless-steel exhaust and headers, and a special center console with additional gauges, including voltage, temperature, and oil pressure. Offered with extensive restoration invoices on file, the car also benefits from a recent service by RM Auto Restoration.

For a generation of drivers who lusted after both performance and practicality, this 2002 is the ultimate driving machine.